Malaria antigen detection through rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) is widely used to diagnose malaria and estimate prevalence. To support more sensitive next-generation RDT development and screen asymptomatic malaria, we developed and evaluated the Q-Plex™ Human Malaria Array, which quantifies the antigens commonly used in RDTs—Plasmodium falciparum–specific histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2), P. falciparum-specific lactate dehydrogenase (Pf LDH), P. vivax –specific LDH (Pv LDH), and Pan malaria lactate dehydrogenase (Pan LDH), and human C-reactive protein (CRP), a biomarker of severity in malaria.
The development of a blood-stage malaria vaccine has largely focused on the subunit approach. However, the limited success of this strategy, mainly due to antigenic polymorphism and the failure to maintain potent parasite-specific immune responses, indicates that other approaches must be considered. Whole parasite (WP) vaccines offer many advantages over sub-units; they represent every antigen on the organism, thus limiting the effects of antigenic polymorphism, and similarly they compensate for individual Immune-Response (Ir) gene-regulated non-responsiveness to any particular antigen. From a development perspective, they negate the need to identify and compare the relative efficacies of individual candidate antigens. WP vaccines induce protective immunity that is largely cell-mediated.
Malaria diagnostics by rapid diagnostic test (RDT) relies primarily on the qualitative detection of Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein 2 (PfHRP2) and Plasmodium spp lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH). As novel RDTs with increased sensitivity are being developed and implemented as point of care diagnostics, highly sensitive laboratory-based assays are needed for evaluating RDT performance. Here, a quantitative suspension array technology (qSAT) was developed, validated and applied for the simultaneous detection of PfHRP2 and pLDH in a variety of biological samples (whole blood, plasma and dried blood spots) from individuals living in different endemic countries.
Identifying highly immunogenic blood stage antigens which can work as target for naturally acquired antibodies in different eco-epidemiological settings is an important step for designing malaria vaccine. Blood stage proteins of Plasmodium vivax, apical membrane antigen-1 (PvAMA-1) and 19 kDa fragment of merozoite surface protein (PvMSP-119) are such promising vaccine candidate antigens. This study determined the naturally-acquired antibody response to PvAMA-1 and PvMSP-119 antigens in individuals living in three geographically diverse malaria endemic regions of India.